In The News

Data buoy on Acadia National Park's Jordan Pond to help answer clarity questions

Acadia National Park, the oldest national park east of the Mississippi, sits off Maine's Atlantic coast and covers most of Mount Desert Island — an unlikely name for a landmass covered in lakes and ponds. One of those is Jordan Pond, the deepest on the island, which is a famously clear lake in a state famous for clear lakes. "Jordan Pond is historically one of the most transparent lakes in Maine--or at least that's what they claim," said Nora Theodore, a masters student in ecology and environmental science at the University of Maine. And though the lake remains incredibly clear, decades of monitoring show the clarity is trending downward. "It's an extremely low productivity system, but that's been changing," she said. Transparency in Jordan Pond has been in decline since the 1990s.

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Vehicle pollution multiplies in the environment, study finds

Scientists have found that for every particle of pollution directly produced by a vehicle, approximately ten times that amount of pollution is produced by the original particle’s reactions with its environment. Allen Robinson of Carnegie Mellon University collected air from Fort Pitt Tunnel, Pittsburgh, where about 61,000 vehicles pass daily. A tube through a tunnel ventilation slit introduced the vehicle emissions to a potential aerosol mass flow reactor, where hydroxyl radicals oxidized volatile organic compounds produced by the vehicles, mimicking reactions with the atmosphere. About ten times more secondary organic aerosols resulted post reaction versus primary organic aerosols, according to mass spectrometry.

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India study: Public opinion trumps environmental regulations in causing change

Researchers at Harvard and the University of Chicago say that public opinion and action are more useful than governmental regulations for bringing about environmental change in some cases, according to Phys.org . They expand on the opinion in a study recently published in the journal American Economic Review . The researchers looked at India’s data on air and water pollution at a city level. By looking at news trends and levels of civic engagement, they charted public actions on specific environmental issues. “We find that when it comes to enforcing its strong environmental regulations, India has a mixed track record,” said Michael Greenstone, economist at the University of Chicago and study co-author, to Phys.org.

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